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Old 08-10-2012, 04:34 PM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
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Silver Trailers Too Small

OK, I've said it. Even though I have a 34' triple axle, my family of four was at the beach last week and a nasty storm blew up. It stormed from 10:00pm until 6:00pm the next day. My 7 year old boy likes to spread his Lego's in a 3' radius all around him. My 12 year old daughter was trying to find a place to hang out. Me and the wife sat wherever we could. The trailer felt....SMALL!

Yes, I know it's heresy to admit it on here. But we found ourselves wishing we had a big 5er. As I rode my bike through the campground (Camp Hatteras in NC...very nice place) I saw that for most of the week I had the only silver trailer there. Later I saw two others...but mainly I saw 5ers and big Class A's.

We've looked at a Raptor toy hauler. The last 10' is rubberized on the floor and has tie downs so that I can bring my V-Rod. When the Harley is out of the camper, you hit a button and TWO queen beds come down. The kids get to use the "garage" as their own space once we're set up and my son can spread his Lego's out all he likes.

Am I a traitor?

I like my trailer (it's actually an Avion, but the difference is very minor...) but the floorplan is basically laid out for a retired couple. We have the gaucho across the front that turns into a bed. But it's a pain in the rear to have to fold that out every night. As well, the little fold out table in the front is great, but when beddy bye time comes....I have to put away all the legos and then fold the table up, pull the couch out into a bed, and then and only then can they sleep.

I have been trying to think of mods I can do to help alleviate things. First I've designed a bunk bed that would replace the gaucho that would put the one mattress on the ground and the other one would basically slide down on the vertical rails and sit on it for a couch. You simply raise the platform up and it'd click to form a bunk bed or "rack" like we had in the Navy and each kid would have their own little area. It's be a lot less trouble than the gaucho.

But, what do I do about Lego Man? He needs room. Without a slide out, the trailer is basically like being in a B-17 fuselage where it's long and skinny.

I want to make a circumnavigation of the lower 48 while my kids are still young enough to enjoy it. But wifey says we'd kill each other being trapped in the long long tube for a month. What to do?????

Also, what do I do with the Harley? I could put it in the bed of the truck, but I really like the Toy Hauler idea.

I've replaced everything that's worn out on this trailer. She's in great shape. I just installed three new MaxxAir Deluxe Vents (not shown in this photo but they're the low profile type that you can leave on in the rain and tow with them open...very nice), it's got new a/c, new fridge, new water heater, new kitchen faucet, new toilet, and new DWV plumbing. I like it a whole big bunch and it even polishes up pretty nicely. It's just not made for a family

What do you guys think?
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
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Really? Not trying to be harsh, but if you can't fathom living in a 34' trailer (even if it's not an AS) with 1 other adult and 2 kids and Legos for a month, perhaps you should sell it and get a 5er. Your trailer is not going to get longer or wider (unless you were to get one with a slide-out)...

Or rent a smaller trailer for a week-long trip ... then everyone will appreciate the expanse of a 34'...

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Old 08-10-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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what you need

What you need is a portable "rec" room. They have the FL room that attaches to the side of the AS. It works great. Or you could buy one of those portable shelters for the kids. How old are they? Can they pitch a tent next to the AS?
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:56 PM   #4
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1978 31' Sovereign
Cookeville , Tennessee
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my brother will sell you his raptor. His is too small for him his wife and his two kids. My four kids, two dogs and wife all seem to fit in our 31' airstream without a problem.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:33 PM   #5
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3 or 4 years. Can you last that long? By then, your daughter will have a part-time job and won't travel with you anymore. Your son will give up legos and be content with some miniature electronic device that hasn't yet been invented.

You will then have plenty of space.

Of course, in a another couple of years after that, your daughter will want to bring her boyfriend on a camping trip (even though he was supposed sleep in a tent, the ensuing storm will drive him in). Your son will take up bmx biking and need to bring two bikes along, and a friend and his friend's bike. You might even take up astronomy and want to bring some humongous telescopes that you made in the off-season. Your wife might bring her laptop and stacks of files from the office that need to be spread out on the table.

I speak from a small amount of personal experience. A trip to Yosemite in our 21 footer resulted in 6 adults and one 10 year old stuffed in the tiny trailer for 12 hours while it rained buckets outside.

It was the ultimate test of tolerance.

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Old 08-10-2012, 06:39 PM   #6
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Jim, next time take the family to Ocean Lakes Campground at Myrtle Beach. Even when the weather turns crappy there is still plenty of stuff for the chaps to do. It is a big, busy place, quite the opposite of Outer Banks camping but right on the ocean and heaven for kids. They will love you for it and everyone will be happy, including you 'cause you will still have your silver trailer.

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Old 08-10-2012, 07:57 PM   #7
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There's no harm in what you're saying. No trailer is all things to all people, which is why lots of 5th wheels get sold.

You won't have any problem finding someone to buy the Avion, I predict you'll get better resale on it relative to what you paid than you will with the 5th wheel replacement when it's time to upgrade or downsize that one.

Our trailer is great for 2 plus the small calm dog, a little tight with the bigger difficult dog along. Another couple with a dog or two might find it a bad floorplan, or too big or too small for their tastes.

Find the trailer or moho that is most comfortable for your family, and enjoy traveling in it. No matter what you do, someone will tell you you're crazy and someone else will ask why you didn't do that in the first place.

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Old 08-10-2012, 07:58 PM   #8
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how many axles would it take under your house to drag it along?...just a thought
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:14 PM   #9
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Our Airstream is huge compared to the five VW campers we traveled all over the country with over the years. Tiny compared to many new campers.

But we don't have them for the space they offer. It's the magic.

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Old 08-10-2012, 08:23 PM   #10
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Trailer size is fine- too much stuff...

I grew up camping in a 31' Airstream. I saw 34 states before I graduated from high school. There were five of us (four for a long time, then my kid sister was born when I was 8. She slept on a homemade plywood bed platform over the tub in the bathroom for several years).

Dad had limits on what we could take. Once our personal space was filled up, we were done packing. We had to be very selective in what we wanted to bring on each trip. Legos were out- too easy to lose- unless we got a set while on our travels...we could CAREFULLY build the set one evening.

We would not stay in the trailer for hours on end, even on rainy days. We went and saw things. We went sightseeing and viewed the local sights everywhere we went. The trailer was for eating and sleeping and unwinding before bed. Otherwise we were happily on the go.

Your trailer size is fine- perhaps even overkill. You are trying to take too much stuff. I am "up-sizing" to a 17' Airstream because our 13' Scotty is too small for three of us (Mommy and I and a 17 month old) and we have a baby on the way. I think the extra 4' should make a world of difference.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by JimGolden View Post
But, what do I do about Lego Man? .................................
That's pretty simple. LEGO's don't go camping. Find him something to do less space consuming. Pretty soon you will be tearing the trailer apart to retrieve that one crucial LEGO that fell down some crack. My opinion is that you need some hierarchy readjustment.

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Old 08-10-2012, 08:42 PM   #12
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Back in the 60's our family of 4 traveled for weeks in a 16' Mallard. Today we have a 23' stream which seems huge by comparision. To us your 34' would seem like the Queen Mary. It's all relative I guess.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:49 PM   #13
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Me thinks you should buy what you want. Life is short. Others say they make due with their trailers, that's fine, but that's not you. There are a lot of nice 5er's out there. Me, I can't imagine not having an Airstream, but they do have a number of limitations. Mostly, space problems storage and living. I know when the 3 of us are "cooped up" in ours due to weather or whatever (like last weekend) a nice big 5er sounds good . Space, space, space, lots of space. Lots of storage space, lots of bedroom space, nice big bathroom(s), big tanks. Sweet. However, I also think they look ridiculous coming down the road (that huge trailer hulking over a little truck...weird), they are just too big for a number of state park campsites we like and they are an SOB that will start to look like crap and fall apart within 8-10 years. Furthermore, unlike an Airstream, they have zero style cool factor to me, which is the main reason most folks buy AS anyway truth told. But like I said, and I am not being facetious, buy what you really want/need, life is short. Enjoy.

Oh yeah, don't even use words like traitor! In the end, their all just travel trailers and should be more about the fun of camping than anything else.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:59 PM   #14
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My daughter just sold her Argosy Minuet. Her husband hated sleeping in it because it was so small. They're looking at SOB's. That's OK, they have to do whatever makes them happy while camping! I've lost an AS comrad, but my daughter & grandson will gain a happy camping hubby/dad and that's what is important! Not the brand you choose! (I love AS's tho!)


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